Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Today instead of teaching classes in the morning, I went out with my students and the other teachers as they mapped their neighborhoods, taking pictures and interviewing people about the possible 'danger' spots they could encounter on their way to and from school.
The students were grouped according to the area they lived in. Then, with a teacher and parent volunteers, they headed out with a map, a digital camera and pen & paper to record areas of concern that they found. My group had an area near the school. We wandered around the side roads and alleyways noting where a stranger could lurk and possibly jump out at students. I thought it was also going to be about dangerous places where students could get hurt, but it was just about places where suspicious individuals could hide without students seeing them.
We spent 3 hours outside, stopping for short breaks in the neighborhood parks where my students showed their aptitude for drawing Anpanman and Sponge Bob.
After we had covered the required area and interviewed the required 3 people, we went pack to the school where the teachers printed out the photos for the students to put on their own large scale, hand drawn map which will be pieced together into one big map of the city.
The only negative part of the day was when the other teacher I was with stopped twice for cigarette breaks, right in front of the students...NEVER would that happen in Canada.
Monday, September 25, 2006
It started at 11:30 Friday night.
Mihoko and I jumped in her Mazda and headed for Nagoya.
We drove all night -6 hours to be exact. We parked in front of the gates to Nagashima Spaland (click) and waited for the parking lot to open at 8:00. We were the fourth car in line! Mihoko pointed out a huge rollercoaster standing ominously in the park -the STEEL DRAGON towering above all the other rollercoasters at 318 ft / 98 m tall!! She said that it had been closed for a few years due to an accident and she didn't know when it would be open again...hm.
After sleeping for all of 30 minutes in front of the gates we started to hear banging and clanging... The guy in the car behind us was fixing his engine, and the van behind him was cooking breakfast! No more sleep for us.
Once the gates to the parking lot opened we had to wait for the gates to the amusment park to open at 9:00. We were pretty sleepy but excited to finally have escaped Toyama for a couple of days, we downed some tea and got ready to ride! Once in the park we headed straight to the second largest rollercoaster in the park -the White Cyclone which is 139 ft / 43 m tall and the 9th largest WOODEN rollercoaster in the world. It was crazy!!! I was totally freaked out and couldn't stop thinking that the wood was going to fly apart at any minute. And that's was just the beginning.
The White Cyclone
On the way to our second rollercoaster, we noticed that the Steel Dragon had cars going up. We thought maybe they were just testing it. But when we took a closer look we saw that all the cars were filled with people! It was open again! We made a bee line for the entrance and before we knew it we were screaming our way down the first drop!
The Steel Dragon
We would ride the Steel Dragon (click for video) again later in the day, after testing
Shoot the Chute (click for video), the Space Shuttle, the Viking Ship, the Ferris Wheel and a few other rides. We stopped once for brunch and once for a coffee break...we were having so much fun. Now, some of you are thinking to yourselves, "Yeah, right. Linea rode more than one rollercoaster in a day. Impossible." I too thought I was not going to be able to spend a whole day in an amusement park -riding. Maybe it was the lack of sleep that did it for me, but I had a great time and only felt sick once I got hungry -and that was quickly remedied with some tasty fried rice for brunch! (I felt more ill in the car ride through the mountains than I did on the rollercoasters.)
Unforunately the rides had to come to an end and we said goodbye to the amusement park and headed to the attached outlet mall where we shopped for a few hours before going to Mihoko's cousin's house to spend the night.
Sunday we had a BBQ with Mihoko's cousin's family and friends and then we met up with Kate, a former Kurobe ALT who is now living in Nagoya. She took us to a great little Chinese tea house/cafe and we caught up on the latest gossip. By this time it was past 4 and we still had a 6 hour drive ahead of us. We made it out of Nagoya city around 5:30 and were home in Nyuzen by 11:30.
An exhausting but extremely fun weekend.
the whole veiw -click